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Flanagan urges industry to hand details of bogus claims to gardaí

 

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Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has urged the insurance industry to provide details to the gardaí of any suspected bogus injury claims of which it is aware.

It came as he defended the Government's efforts to tackle compensation culture after the Irish Independent exposed how some doctors are actively encouraging patients to bring claims for whiplash injuries.

The undercover probe also found solicitor firms are directly referring clients to GPs and orthopaedic surgeons to have injury reports prepared.

The revelations prompted Fianna Fáil to claim "Government inaction and a lack of appetite to tackle insurance fraud has led to a culture whereby people are incentivised to take claims".

Mr Flanagan insisted gardaí are acting on the issue. He added: "I'm calling on the insurance industry to provide details of fraud from their files to the gardaí."

The minister said gardaí needed such evidence if the Director of Public Prosecutions was to bring charges. He said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris "has the full backing of Government on this issue".

Mr Flanagan insisted the Government was putting in place measures which were "workable".

He pointed to the imminent establishment of the Judicial Council which will set guidelines for personal injury payouts as an example of the Government making progress on efforts to tackle the claims culture. The council will also promote the need for consistency in the level of damages being awarded by the courts.

The Government has said the guiding principles of the council will be that "modest injuries should attract modest damages".

"After 20 years of promises, we have now enacted the Judicial Council Bill," Mr Flanagan said.

He added that the funding was in place and he expected the council to be established "within the next three weeks".

"Premises and staffing are being addressed and the Chief Justice and his colleagues are actively engaged," added Mr Flanagan.

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